Lifestyle

Cigar Review

5 Vegas Limitada 2019  | Toro Honduras                   6.0” x 50                    Medium                93-Rated I always look forward to this annual release. The 2019 variety is blended with aged ligeros from the Dominican and […]

5 Vegas Limitada 2019  | Toro
Honduras                   6.0” x 50                    Medium                93-Rated

I always look forward to this annual release. The 2019 variety is blended with aged ligeros from the Dominican and Nicaragua bound by a genuine Cameroon leaf. A chestnut-brown Nicaraguan wrapper completes the cigar. I find this handmade to be medium in body, but rich and smooth throughout. I get notes of espresso bean and oak up front and sweet cedar on the finish. Now and then a peanut-like flavor from the Cameroon binder shines through. The finale has a dash of pepper, completing a complex yet soothing cigar fit for anytime enjoyment.

CAO Flathead V19  | Robusto
Nicaragua                       5.5” x 50                      Full             94-Rated

Dark and oily. Solid from head to toe. Heavy in the hand. CAO Flathead V19 is a dense handmade with a luxurious, barnyard pre-light aroma. Well-aged long-fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican reside within a Connecticut Habano binder, which is then hugged by a dark chocolate brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I find this to be CAO’s fullest and most flavorful blend to date. Rich, dense smoke offers notes of leather and earth, while a semi-sweet molasses lingers on the aftertaste. I enjoy this cigar after a big feast from the grill.

Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask  Gigante
Nicaragua                   6.0” x 58                     Medium                       92-Rated

A dark, toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper conceals a vintage blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers secured by a feisty Arapiraca binder from Brazil. The binder, which has been patiently aged in oak sherry casks, lends layers of flavor to an already complex bouquet. Sweet cedar and bittersweet chocolate mingles with pepper and a unique, stone fruit nuance on the finish. A satisfying and eventful profile, that’s smooth, medium in body and would pair extremely well with a bold red wine, port or aged bourbon.

TatuajeMexican2

Tatuaje Mexican Experiment II  | Belicoso
Nicaragua                    5.0” x 52                       Full                         94-Rated

Big, heavy in the hand, dark and oily, solid from head to toe and softly box-pressed. That’s the look and feel of this 60-ring Man O’ War. From the get-go, the flavor is bold and pronounced. An earthy spice blasts the front of the palate, while each puff pumps out thick, pillowy clouds of gray, aromatic smoke above. The spice mellows after an inch, giving way to notes of leather and oak that linger long on the aftertaste. Midway through, the cigar grows more powerful down to the nub, with satisfying spices returning just before the end. A complex and eventful cigar.

ZinoScepter

Zino Platinum Scepter Series  | Grand Master
Nicaragua                     5.5” x 52                           Mellow                      93-Rated

To me, a good cigar is something I can light up, enjoy and not think about. If I’m thinking, something is off. With the Scepter Series, everything is on. Every Grand Master I’ve ever had has been perfectly soothing and smooth. I find it elegant, displaying subtle hints of coffee and cream with a touch of nougat and nuts. The smoke is velvety, forming thick clouds of white smoke and a sweet, cedar aroma. Few cigars pair as well with coffee than this Connecticut-wrapped, Dominican and Peruvian-filled premium.

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Four Season Resort at Sayan, Bali

Nestled on a hillside on the banks of the Ayung River in Ubud, Bali sits the five-star Four Seasons at Sayan Resort.  Named by Travel and Leisure as the #1 resort in the world in 2018, the Four Seasons at Sayan is a stunning resort that WOWs guests immediately upon arrival. The entrance to the […]

Nestled on a hillside on the banks of the Ayung River in Ubud, Bali sits the five-star Four Seasons at Sayan Resort.  Named by Travel and Leisure as the #1 resort in the world in 2018, the Four Seasons at Sayan is a stunning resort that WOWs guests immediately upon arrival. The entrance to the lobby is dramatically positioned at the end of a suspension bridge set high above the treetops where guests descend from the roof above.  The bridge ends at an infinity-edge lotus pond with 360 views of the terraced rice paddies, river, and jungles below.  This open-air pavilion leads down through a spiral staircase to the main restaurant, spa, gym, and the resort’s 18-acre property.

Architect John Heah incorporated the natural beauty of the surrounding area, which is part of the Unesco World Heritage listed irrigation network to transport guests into a tropical paradise, removed from the hustle of Ubud.  With only 60 accommodations, which include 18 suites and 42 villas, this Four Seasons is uncommonly smaller, which makes their guest to staff ratio incredibly high.  The staff prides itself in calling their guests by their names within hours of check-in.

The 42 villa accommodations feature huge private plunge pools, outdoor living space with Bali beds, and four-poster king-size beds; complete with elaborate canopy netting. The décor is a blend of contemporary and traditional Balinese features that include complimentary incense, snacks, tea/coffee, and nightly turndown is highlighted with a small vial of essential oils that promote a well-nights-rest.   Complimentary services for all guests include cooking classes, garden tours, several yoga classes, and free transfers into the town of Ubud every 2 hours.  The yoga pavilion is an open-air bamboo yoga hut which is positioned among the rice fields.  The pavilion specializes in anti-gravity yoga, and several classes are offered (additional fees apply).

With three dining options, as well as in-room dining, the various restaurants incorporate produce grown on their property as well as infusing their menu with Indonesian specialty dishes.  Known for creating intimate in-destination experiences, the Four Seasons at Sayan has designed several unique Balinese excursions for guests to get up close and personal with their surroundings at an additional cost.  These options include: private rafting down the Ayung River (with access to the river from the resort), biking through the Kintamani Village, a secret bathing ritual at a very secluded ancient water temple or experiencing a day in the life of a Balinese rice farmer.

The Four Seasons Resort at Sayan celebrated its 20th year in 2018 and continues to deliver an authentic Balinese experience combined with five-star luxuries that exceed expectations.

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Let’s go drink a shadow, Venetian style Cicheti – A fabulous Venetian tradition

When a Venetian invites you for a drink, they’ll say  Andemo bever un’ombra   –  “Let’s go drink a shadow”  Venetians have a lovely tradition of meeting friends after work in their neighborhood wine bars for a quick glass of wine and some savory bite-sized snacks before heading home for dinner. This tradition dates back to […]

When a Venetian invites you for a drink, they’ll say  Andemo bever un’ombra   –  “Let’s go drink a shadow”  Venetians have a lovely tradition of meeting friends after work in their neighborhood wine bars for a quick glass of wine and some savory bite-sized snacks before heading home for dinner.

This tradition dates back to the 12th century when ships unloaded their wine cargo at the Riva degli Schiavoni. Some savvy entrepreneurs set up wine stands under the shaded base of the nearby Bell Tower in Piazza San Marco.  To keep the wine cool, the stands moved around the base of the tower as the shadows (Ombra) shifted. Following the shadow kept the wine as cool as possible on a sunny day.  This tradition of stopping to drink a shadow has existed among Venetians ever since.

Eventually, the stands moved inside, and the wine bar “ bacaro” was born.  For centuries, the wine bar was the place for Venetians to stop for a drink before heading home after work.  Barkeepers soon realized their clients needed something to ‘absorb’ the alcohol and started offering little finger foods called cicheti.

fall-2019-vino-boat

The small wine bars I visit today remind me of when my Venetian relatives took me to my first bacaro in 1979. I can still remember walking over the threshold into a cozy, small, dark bar.  There were no chairs, only a long wooden bar with a glass front that showcased the many savory offerings on a long line of white plates –   grilled polenta topped with creamy cod, mozzarella fried in a bread ‘boat’, baby squid stuffed with olives, fried zucchini flowers, the tiniest sandwich of Venetian crab, Crostini were skewered with toothpicks that secured a pickled onion to an anchovy topped with a tart berry, or a thick slab of mortadella pinched between a pistachio and sweet pickle.  Toothpicks let you know you are about to experience a burst of flavor from the many ingredients it was holding together.  Since there was no seating, if you were lingering a little longer than normal, you could rest your plates or glass on a wood shelf that ran the length of the wall, or if you were lucky on the top of the bar itself.

The baccari haven’t changed much since my first visit. The back bar still holds as many plump demijohns it can hold, each one with a different wine from the Veneto and the walls are lined with more wine bottles.

The aroma is still intoxicating – the bouquets of red and white wines past and present mingled with the heavenly scents of cured meats, salty seafood, sweet and sour from the popular Venetian dish Sarde in Saor, cheeses and fried vegetables, herbs and olive oil.  It is culinary nirvana.

Venice’s secret has now become popular with tourists. So much so that you can find many tour operators offering a cicheti wine tour. If you want to see the authentic side of this Venetian secret, I’ve included a list of our favorite bacari in order of sequence.  If you prefer to be in the company of a Venetian Papavero Villa Rentals can arrange one of their friends who will take you to the wine bars where the locals hang out.

Many bacari are open during the lunch hour as well.  If you want to mingle with the locals, make sure you are off the beaten path as most are hidden on quiet streets, and stop in right before noon or between 6 and 8 in the evening. Cicheti are meant for a quick snack before dinner, but it’s a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy a meal and ideal if you don’t have much time between museums.

fall-2019-vino-trio

Wines and foods found in a Venetian Wine Bar

The Veneto is the largest wine-producing region in Italy. It has 28 DOC’s and 14 DOCG’s some sharing territory with bordering regions of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. Millions of bottles are shipped around the world, but they say the largest consumers are the locals.  So, try something you may be unfamiliar with when visiting a Venetian bacari and embrace the local ‘table’ wines. The best way to sample Venice’s authentic cuisine is by visiting a few bacari as that  bacari will have their own specialties as well as some of these favorites,  some bacari will specialize in seafood, cheeses, meats, etc. so make sure to stop in more than once during your stay in one of our  Venice apartment vacation rentals.

These are some of Venice’s most popular cicheti

  • Crostini: slices of bread with various toppings
  • Polpette: meat, fish or vegetable fritters
  • Baccalà mantecato: creamed cod served on chargrilled planks of polenta
  • Folpetti: boiled baby octopus sliced in half and dressed with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Sarde fritte: fried sardines
  • Sarde in saor: fried sardines marinated in white onion, wine vinegar, raisins and pine nuts
  • Mezzo uovo: half-boiled egg topped with capers, pickles or anchovies
  • Insalata di piovra: octopus salad with extra virgin olive oil, herbs
  • Mortadella e peperone: a thick slice of mortadella with a pickled sweet pepper
  • Fetta di salame: thick slice of salami
  • Cipolline con l’acciuga: pickled onion with an anchovy
  • Seppioline fritte: fried baby squid (only when in season and quite expensive)
  • Seppie o calamari all griglia: grilled squid or calamari
  • Cappesante al Forno – oven baked sea scallops on the half shell

 

How to order

 Cicheti are generally charged by piece or by portion. In most places, the price tag is placed just in front of the relative nibble, but other times… well, it’s just missing! In such cases, don’t hesitate to ask the barkeeper.  More or less, in each bacari, you will spend on average from 3 to 7 euros per person.

The bar/ counter is usually at the entrance, so choose what you want, pay, and try to find a spot for yourself. Most bacari place a wooden shelf or wine barrels just outside so that clients can put down their glass and have free hands.  Some now even have tables outside where you can sit.  In general, when it comes to cicheti walks, during the day the experience is more about the food, whereas in the evening the main focus is the drinking and socializing!   When time is tight, you can always make a meal out of grazing through the abundant cicheti that are offered.

 

You own Cicheti Walk

If you want to experience Venice like a Venetian, take this independent cicheti walk, through some of Venice’s most picturesque streets.   Most of the wine bars are in the Cannaregio and San Polo districts, the less touristy areas of Venice and home to most working-class Venetians.

This itinerary starts at the train station but jump in anywhere and visit as many as you like.  Considering a leisurely walk, and some time to enjoy each wine bar, this itinerary will take from   4 to 5 hours to complete.

With the train station to your back, take the busy street Lista di Spagna on your right and immediately charge your batteries with a quick stop at:

 

Al Cicheto

Address: Cannaregio, Calle de la Misericordia 367/A, 30121

Our first destination, a small wine bar managed by two brothers, with a carefully selected wine list and a really excellent baccalà mantecato. The interior is in dark wood and the atmosphere friendly.

 

Vecia Carbonera

Address: Canneregio 2329, Venezia 30100

Proceed along Strada Nuova, the main street, until you reach Vecia Carbonera. This is one of my favorite locations as, differently from most osterie, it has a spacious interior, and it’s possible to sit down. There is no table service (thus, no extra cost), so you order at the counter, pay, and relax. The counter is at the right of the entrance and has a very rich window with a wide variety of crostini, fish skewers, gratin veg and individual portions of dishes like aubergines parmigiana. I suggest trying the crostini with chicken livers and the ones with ricotta and zucchini.

 

Paradiso Perduto
Address: Cannaregio, Fondamenta della Misericordia 2540, 30121

Located in Fondamenta della Misericordia, Paradiso has been open for ages. It’s colorful, it’s lively and always very busy. I usually have an ombra and a small portion of octopus salad, but you should also try the grilled polenta with baccalà mantecato and the fried sardines.

 

Vino Vero
Address: Cannaregio, Fondamenta della Misericordia 2497, 30121

Only a few metres away, Vino Vero is specialized in natural wine (thus, they don’t serve ombre) and quality crostini. In the display window, you will only see the crostini, but it’s also possible to ask for a small salad or a selection of cured meats and cheese, which is prepared at the moment. Among the crostini, my favorites are the ones with seppie in nero (squid in ink) and the ones with spicy chicory, anchovies and cheese.

 

Trattoria alla Vedova
Address: Cannaregio, Ramo Ca’ d’Oro 3912, 30121

Located in a side calle of Strada Nuova, it is one of the oldest osterie in Venice and is renowned for its garlicky polpette. The tables are reserved for the restaurant (also very good), and there isn’t a lot of space inside, so we normally order at the counter and the step outside. If the situation is quite, I suggest trying the boiled latti di seppia (boiled squid eggs) and the fondi di carciofo (heart of the artichoke).

 

Promessi Sposi
Address: Cannaregio, Calle dell’Oca 4367, 30121

Slightly hidden, this place has become very popular. The tables are reserved for the restaurant and those enjoying wine and cicheti stand either at the counter or in the street. Promessi Sposi is known for the skewers with three small fried meatballs, but I also recommend the sarde in saor and the sardines in beccafico style, thus rolled and stuffed with a trite of breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, raisins, pine nuts and vinegar. They also have a good offer of vegetables!

 

Sepa
Address: San Marco, Calle de la Bissa 5482, 30124

Before crossing the Rialto Bridge, consider stopping at Sepa. Although it’s not exactly an osteria, this recently opened take away is specialized in traditional Venetian cuisine. In addition to the various cicheti, every day at 1 pm, they prepare a risotto, which I highly recommend trying! Besides being delicious, I find it has a very good value for money (3 euros for half a portion and 5 euros for a full portion).

 

Gislon
Address: San Marco, Calle de la Bissa 5424/a, 30124

At one minute from Sepa, Gislon is the reference stop for mozzarella in carrozza, a local treat made by frying two slices of white bread previously into whipped eggs and stuffed with mozzarella and either prosciutto or anchovies.

 

Bancogiro
Address: San Polo, Campo San Giacometto 122, 30125

This wine bar was the first to open after the vegetable whole market was moved to the Tronchetto area. The location itself is stunning. From the late XVI century to the fall of the Republic it used to be a bank, then it changed function and currently hosts this fancy wine bar and restaurant. The selection of wine is of excellent quality (no ombre here) and the cicheti on offer really inviting. I suggest trying a variety of crostini and their sarde in saor.

 

Al Merca’
Address: Campo Bella Vienna 213, 30125

A few meters away, in campo Bella Vienna, Al Marca’ offers small panini with different fillings and meat, fish and aubergine fritters. My favourite sandwich is tuna and radicchio.

 

I Compari
Address: San Polo, Campo de la Pescaria, 255/A, 30125

A recent acquisition, I Compari is managed by a kind man from Padova called Simone. Located right in front of the fruit and veg market, this is the place for folpetti, boiled baby octopus dressed with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. In addition to the octopus, the baccalà in red is superb and at lunch time it’s also possible to have express dishes. Excellent value for money and friendly and attentive service.

 

All’ Arco
Address: San Polo 436, 30125

Probably the most written about Venetian osteria, All’Arco has maintained quality through the years. A family business made of passionate people that pay great attention to ingredient sourcing. When you step in, you will find yourself in front of a rich window filled with crostini, fried baccalà (a must-have), francobolli (tiny squared tramezzini sandwiches), boiled fish, and more. Choose, order, and hope to find a free chair!

 

Cantina Do Mori
Address: San Polo 429, 30125

The ambiance is completely different, wider, and darker. The food? Delicious! My favorite is the pickled baby onion with anchovy, but if you are into milder flavors don’t worry, you will still be spoilt by choice. From crostini with marinated fish to veg spreads (try the asparagus or the artichoke ones), from revisited tramezzini to boiled baby octopus, from half-boiled eggs to rolled grilled and marinated aubergine topped with dried tomato and -obviously- lots and lots of wine.

Before continuing with our endeavors, we’re going to leave Rialto and head towards Dorsoduro for our final stop.

 

Cantinone del Vino già Schiavi
Address: Dorsoduro 992, F.ta Nani, 30123

Another historical wine bar, where it’s possible to taste an incredible variety of crostini with an endless assortment of toppings (my favorite: nettle sauce and brie cheese). Easy going and friendly atmosphere, it’s nice to order and then step outside and enjoy the drinks along the canal. Only a few meters away, one of the oldest squeri (shipyard for gondolas) in Venice.

If for some reason you are still hungry, stop in at the Bar Toletta for a Tramezzino.  Or save it for another day. 

 

Bar Toletta
Address: Dorsoduro 1191, 30123

Here you won’t find cicheti, but… another renowned local specialty called tramezzino. Tramezzini are triangular sandwiches made with white bread (with the crust removed), mayo and stuffed with different fillings, a quintessential Venetian street food experience in Venice, usually one of the first things Venetians do when they return home after a vacation. Bites of pure pleasure, perfect to end your walk.

  

Patrice Salezze is the owner of Papavero Villa Rentals, offering villa and apartment rentals throughout Italy.

You can reach her at Patrice@PapveroRentals.com or call her at 610 224  1004

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Become Your Own Fitic

Welcome to Summer 2019! For many of us, this announcement brings excitement and ideas for warm weather freedom experiences. Many of these said new freedoms are usually tied to new stressors regarding time management though. We all want healthier impacts on our daily lifestyles; however, we need first to recognize that there will be negative […]

Welcome to Summer 2019! For many of us, this announcement brings excitement and ideas for warm weather freedom experiences. Many of these said new freedoms are usually tied to new stressors regarding time management though. We all want healthier impacts on our daily lifestyles; however, we need first to recognize that there will be negative occurrences while we are experiencing the positives along the way. These initial points all tie into why we need to keep up our awareness as our own Fitic. That’s right; it’s time to become your own fitness critic!

The first step is realizing that time management is a real challenge, especially as we are bringing new challenges into our healthy lifestyle alignment. Now on the point of awareness, it’s important to realize that many of us have different lifestyle goals and obligations that impact those goals. Some of these obligations can include extended family, children, summer education programs, entrepreneurial side hustles, etc. Now let’s add in the new goals which have become summer obligations which can include summer parties, graduations, weddings, camping trips, day hiking, cycling events, fitness competitions, racing, international travels, etc. Either way, you look at it, many of us seem to find more time in our standard 24-hour day to do more things when the summer occurs.

Now the big point behind becoming your own Fitic is that we must realize that we could be possibly missing out on important health and fitness alignment activities. Adding in new events with friends, family, or even by yourself means that priorities have shifted. Many of us get so busy that our situational awareness has dropped when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We cut back on proper sleep cycles, skip that workout, or get so busy that we allow ourselves that processed fast food. Part of becoming a great self-aware Fitic is realizing that we all should be trying to “S.E.N.D It” in life. S.E.N.D. defined represents Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, and that important mindset component of Determination. If we expect to “Send It” all summer long and outperform our other seasonal periods of the year, we have to take care of ourselves. That is where S.E.N.D. comes into play when you are learning to “Become Your Own Fitic.”

Overall fitness has been defined in many ways. It is important that each of us realize that we are all at different places on the timeline of life. Your fit friend at work might be further down the timeline on the knowledge that they acquired to get them to where they are. So S.E.N.D. keeps it simple; those four components of Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, and Determination gives you a strong foundation to focus on. Afterall we can’t forget that classic KISS Method, Keep It Super Simple.

Many of us don’t realize that no one is going to help us reach our goals but for ourselves. If you are going to build out your summer schedule with challenging goals, then you need to own them as your own. You agreed to the commitments, so step up and own them. Do not pass blame or pass accountability to someone else in your friends and family circle if items are not being achieved. Another big secret to success is defining your WHY behind everything you do that will pair up with your accountability. Taking the time to truly define that WHY will help you fuel your passions when the days get tough. This is your mind, your body, and your spirit. So, you need to take accountability for it and become your own best Fitic.

There are a lot of different gurus out there that will point you in different directions. This is your Why in your life, so you need to find what works for you. Many of us are so overwhelmed that we don’t even get to start, let alone being figuring out what it is that will work for us. One of the biggest hacks that are out there is simply taking small actions to start figuring that out, again back to the KISS Method. Before you can become your own best fitness critic, you have to take at least some of the necessary small steps to realize the areas that you can change and improve. For example, what foods can be the best energy in the morning vs. evening, removing the processed fast food, freeing up 10 mins for a morning workout, etc. Maybe it’s adding in the exercise with your children, or maybe you do have a great workout buddy that you can regularly count on for mutual accountability. Another great goal is finding healthier timed activities like skipping the happy hour at the bar. We all have rough workdays; you have a choice on how you decompress the day and relieve stress. Trust me, physical fitness activities bring way better mental and physical gains than alcohol and bar food.

So please remember, you have to care about having a healthier daily lifestyle for yourself. You can build a more bulletproof and energized daily life, yes, you can. Improving your daily energy gains and stress relief from proper exercise with rest and recovery will help you accomplish these added summer goals that you’re adding into your schedule. You’re the one looking in the mirror, and you’re the one that has to hold yourself accountable as you Become Your Own Best Fitic.

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Cigar Review

Alec Bradley, Black Market Vandal “The Con” | Toro Honduras                   6.0” x 50                    Mellow-Medium                93-Rated The Honduran Connecticut wrapper hugging this Toro is both silky and toothy, and is used to […]

Alec Bradley, Black Market Vandal “The Con” | Toro
Honduras                   6.0” x 50                    Mellow-Medium                93-Rated

The Honduran Connecticut wrapper hugging this Toro is both silky and toothy, and is used to conceal an aged combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan long-fillers. The pre-light aroma is sweet with a touch of barnyard…a really good sign.  Upon lighting, I am greeted with a rush of sweet cedar and sweet tobacco. The aroma is sweet and somewhat zesty. As the cigar burns, notes of cashew and cream enter, adding layers of balanced complexity to a well-made, elegant cigar.

Cohiba, Connecticut | Toro
Dominican Republic                       6.5” x 52                      Medium             95-Rated

Everything about this cigar screams luxurious. The name. The silky, seamless Connecticut wrapper from Ecuador. The shimmering, glossy band. I’ve had a dozen Cohiba Connecticuts since its release and can testify: the flavor and performance lives true to my first impression. The smoke is exceedingly creamy, sitting heavy on my palate and dusting every last taste bud with notes of cedar, toast and peanut, with a subtle touch of white pepper on the finish. The burn is slow and true, as each 6.5” Toro provides a soothing experience that pairs perfect with sweet rum or creamed coffee.

AJ Fernandez, La Gran Llave Double Corona
Nicaragua                   7.5” x 54                     Medium-Full                       93-Rated

This cigar looks like a chocolate bar. The dark, San Andres Maduro wrapper is dark, toothy and loaded with oil, and the aroma at the foot is rich and toasty. Fortunately, the cigar delivers. Each puff releases a heavy plume of smoke that fills the palate, offering a rich array of cocoa notes followed by hints of cream and coffee. After the initial inch, I pick up oak and rich tobacco, complemented by a long finish that includes pepper and a unique touch of almond. There’s a lot going on here, and I like it all. A lot.

Ruin10

Man O’ War Ruination,  10th Anniversary | Box-Pressed Gordo
Nicaragua                    6.0” x 60                       Full                         94-Rated

Big, heavy in the hand, dark and oily, solid from head to toe and softly box-pressed. That’s the look and feel of this 60-ring Man O’ War. From the get-go, the flavor is bold and pronounced. An earthy spice blasts the front of the palate, while each puff pumps out thick, pillowy clouds of gray, aromatic smoke above. The spice mellows after an inch, giving way to notes of leather and oak that linger long on the aftertaste. Midway through, the cigar grows more powerful down to the nub, with satisfying spices returning just before the end. A complex and eventful cigar.

My Father | Corona Limited Edition
Nicaragua                     5.0” x 42                           Medium-Full                       95-Rated

Cuban-esque. If you took just one thing from this short review, make it that: Cubanesque. From the 5”x42 vitola to the Cuban-born maker and hearty flavor profile, this cigar could be straight out of Havana. A dark Ecuador Habano wrapper sits atop a Nicaraguan binder and bold Nicaraguan long-fillers, promoting a flavor-packed bouquet loaded with notes of peanut, espresso bean, earth and pepper. I get no twists or turns, just a blast of flavor from start to finish, delivered in smooth fashion down to the nub. This cigar may change your mind about Coronas.

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Cigar Review

Caldwell Collection, The King is Dead Premier Dominican Republic                       5.5” x 50                            Medium                       93-Rated The chocolatey look. The solid roll. The pre-light aroma. Each of these is perfect, setting high expectations before flame meets cigar. […]

Caldwell Collection, The King is
Dead
Premier
Dominican Republic                       5.5” x 50                            Medium                       93-Rated
The chocolatey look. The solid roll. The pre-light aroma. Each of these is perfect, setting high expectations before flame meets cigar. Upon lighting, two things are apparent. Each of the 5 Dominican tobaccos used to create this cigar are of superior quality, and the cigar has been extensively aged post-roll. Every draw from this slow-burning Robusto produces a warm bouquet, complete with toast, earth and milk chocolate. The finish is long yet subtle, completing a luxurious display of balanced, smooth flavors.
Drew Estate, Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig
Nicaragua                            6.0” x 54                          Medium-Full             93-Rated

Shaped like a Blackhawk Torpedo Bomb, this Drew Estate creation sports an oily sungrown wrapper from Ecuador and aged long-fillers from Nicaraguan bound by a Connecticut Habano leaf. The smoke is flavorful and complex, offering dense hints of leather, oak and earth complemented by bright hints of spice. A unique sweet and savory nuance lingers from time to time, which I can only describe as cinnamon. This Flying Pig is complex and burns incredibly slow despite its short stature.

Padilla, Finest Hour Connecticut Toro
Honduras        6.0” x 52                               Mellow-Medium                        91-Rated

This 52-ring Toro is perfectly rolled, solid from head to toe and boasts an Ecuador Connecticut wrapper that’s silky and smooth to the touch. Underneath, two Nicaraguan binders secure a vintage mixture of Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers. The bouquet is rich yet mellow, layered by sweet cedar and creamed coffee and finished by a long, toasty aftertaste. A fine fit for anytime enjoyment. No bells, whistles, twists or turns. Just smooth, buttery, soothing and tasty to the nub.

Puros, Indios Bronco
Honduras                    6.5” x 56                               Medium-Full                         92-Rated

I have always loved this classic cigar. Born by the hands of a legend, the late Rolanda Reyes, Sr., Puros Indios is as Cuban-esque and rustic as it gets. Cuban-seed Honduran long-leaf tobaccos reside within a leathery Ecuador Sumatra wrapper to create a rich and chewy smoke. Each draw exhibits rich earth and rich tobacco. A touch of coffee surfaces from time to time, while a subtle zest is constant throughout the burn. Better still, the raw, Cuban twang that’s present from start to finish…deliciously oldschool.

Rocky Patel, Vintage 1979 Churchill
Honduras                     7.0” x 48                               Medium                       95-Rated

Savor this cigar – enjoying a genuine African Cameroon wrapper leaf cultivated anywhere close to 1979 is a rare treat. Underneath this toothy, milk chocolate-hued wrapper, long-fillers from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican combine to deliver an exquisite series of earth, sweet cedar, rich tobacco and gentle spices. The wrappers’ natural sweetness completes each savory puff, offering a touch of toasted peanut on the finish.

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2019-fun-mini-vacations

Fun Mini-Vacations Where No Passports Are Needed!

Whether you are planning bachelorette or bachelor vacation or simply looking for a fun mini-vacation with friends, there are several fabulous destinations right here in the US to consider. Here are the top 5 locations, touted as the USA’s best cities for a good time and no passport required! 1: Nashville: Even if you are […]

Whether you are planning bachelorette or bachelor vacation or simply looking for a fun mini-vacation with friends, there are several fabulous destinations right here in the US to consider. Here are the top 5 locations, touted as the USA’s best cities for a good time and no passport required!

1: Nashville: Even if you are not a fan of country music, this Tennessee city is the perfect location for southern charm, outstanding barbeque and pub crawls.  They call this city the “Broadway of the south” because there are shows, live music, and night clubs.  It’s also fun to put on a cowboy hat and ride a mechanical bull before you go line dancing.

Nashville

 

2:  South Beach, Miami: Want to stay in the US but love a gorgeous beach and want some nightlife too?  South Beach Miami is the ideal location for a tropical party spot.  With sleek and trendy hotels and an amazing night scene, you can spend your days sitting on the beach and your night’s club hopping on Collins Avenue.

miami-beach

 

3: New Orleans, Louisiana:  The Big Easy has always been known for a crazy party scene during Mardi Gras, but it is also a fabulous place to celebrate your last single days throughout the year.  The art and culture scene, as well as a live Jazz show,  and partake in the best Creole and Cajun cuisine.  For a fun mix, you can explore the Mississippi on riverboat cruise during the day and walk Bourbon Street at night.

new-orleans

 

4:  Napa Valley:  Interested in a more reserved destination?  Amazing wine and a stunning backdrop make Napa Valley a popular location for any bachelorette/bachelor party.  With numerous wineries and some of the best spas in the country, it is easy to stay at a B & B, sample wine, take in a spa treatment and eat top restaurants!  For more adventure, hot air balloon rides provide stunning views of the vineyards!

Napa Valley California Wine Country Vineyard Field Harvest for Winery

 

5:   Puerto Rico:    Looking for the Caribbean but don’t want the hassle of having to get a passport?  Puerto Rico is the ideal Caribbean location because as a US territory it doesn’t require a passport.  With daytime activities like surfing, kayaking, hiking the rain forests and walking the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, those who want more than sun/beach can be as active or adventurous as they wish.  Plus there are plenty of salsa clubs, hip bars, and casinos to party the night away.

puerto-rico

 

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2019-off-the-rack

Off the Rack VS. Custom Clothing

Shopping for clothes is something most people do not even like to think about. People dread things such as: finding the right store, getting the proper fit, finding quality garments that last or even just finding the time to go shopping. Fortunately for the consumer, there is more than one way to shop. The clothing […]

Shopping for clothes is something most people do not even like to think about. People dread things such as: finding the right store, getting the proper fit, finding quality garments that last or even just finding the time to go shopping. Fortunately for the consumer, there is more than one way to shop. The clothing you desire can be purchased multiple ways: conveniently off the rack at a retail store, or with the help of a custom clothier.

Retail stores carry ready-made garments to fit the masses. The clothes are made in standard sizing such as: 40 regular or 38 long. The biggest benefit to buying in this common way is that the turnaround time is quick. You could be in and out of any store in just a few minutes with a new shirt, trouser, or jacket. However, it often leaves the consumer with an added step to the buying experience. That step is having to take your new garments to a tailor to get alterations. Since many don’t even like to shop; the process of going to fight mall traffic on the weekend and going into a crowded store only to find they have a limited selection in your size is unappealing at best. For the select group of people that take special care in finding what they are looking for, off the rack shopping may not be for them.

Another way of shopping for clothing is through a custom clothier. When you purchase custom clothing, you are first and foremost dealing with a trained professional. Your clothier is an expert in all things clothing. They are trained to measure you properly, provide you with a proper fit, help you pick out the best fabrics for your lifestyle, and mix and match patterns and colors. Custom clothing is specially made for an individual based upon a pattern that is created for you based on a series of measurements.

The biggest benefit that clients see from custom clothing is the convenience. Your clothier will come to your home or office at a time that is best for you. In a first time meeting, it typically takes just 40 minutes to get measurements, pick your fabrics, and style your garments to your liking. However, the turnaround time is longer than your traditional off the rack buying process. It takes 6-8 weeks for your clothes to be ordered, crafted, and delivered to your door. When you receive your clothes, your clothier will conduct a proper fitting to make sure you are 100% satisfied with the quality, and fit of the garments. If there are any alterations, they are taken care of, and your pattern is adjusted for future purchases. Once your pattern has been established, ordering custom can be as simple as making a phone call or writing an email.

Custom clothing is not perfect; but it is higher quality, one of a kind garment, made just for you. It gives you the proper fit and personalized customer service along with it. There is a much larger selection when shopping this way. Companies like the Tom James Company, offer different tiers of clothing options that compete with retail store prices. You are able to get any type of fabric, pattern or color fitted just to your liking. Everyone has different preferences in clothing and shopping, and custom allows the process to be individualized to the consumer.

There are benefits to buying off the rack and buying custom clothing. To make the best decision on what is right for you, think about these questions: Do you enjoy shopping? Do you have time to go to the store? Does everything fit you properly off the rack? Do you find everything you are looking for in the store? Does your clothing say what you want it to say about you? If you answered yes to those questions, sticking with buying off the rack may be your best decision. However, if you answered no; it may be time to contact your local clothier, and experience the luxury of custom clothing.

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truffles-in-italy

Autumn in Italy Offers a Bounty of Truffles

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Italy, especially the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.   The weather is perfect, the crowds have dwindled, and the harvest showcases Italy’s culinary delights.  Fall festivals abound throughout Italy honoring grapes, olives, chestnuts, mushrooms, and the pricy truffle. Truffles have been a […]

Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Italy, especially the last two weeks of September and the first two weeks of October.   The weather is perfect, the crowds have dwindled, and the harvest showcases Italy’s culinary delights.  Fall festivals abound throughout Italy honoring grapes, olives, chestnuts, mushrooms, and the pricy truffle.

Truffles have been a delicacy for thousands of years.  There are references by Greek and Roman philosophers as well as in ancient Egyptian writings.   Tartufo, in Italian, is a fungus found growing near the roots of certain trees.  Its enticing aromas and earthy flavor, along with the fact that it has not been cultivated since the late 1800s makes it one of the most coveted foods in the world.

There are a handful of truffle varieties making them available most of the year.  The Italian white truffle is the most expensive and aromatic, prevalent in the Piedmont area of Northern Italy, the most well-known truffle heralding from the area around the city of  Alba where the International Truffle Festival is held every. Their season lasts from October to December, and every restaurant and home will be serving freshly shaved white truffles over Tajarin, local egg pasta.  Next, to being invited into a hunters home, we highly recommend you head off to  Ristorante La Pina for this delectable dish served only during the truffle season.  [Piazza Risorgimento, 4 Alba  phone  +39 0173 442800 http://www.lapiola-alba.it/en/]

The Italian Black truffle, known as the Perigord, is the cherished truffle located in Umbra and available from October through early January. It makes sense that it is also home to Urbani, the world supplier for this prized delicacy. [Santa’Anatolia di Narco, http://urbanitartufi.it/en/]   Their truffle museum is worth a trip, but if you can’t make it to Umbria this fall, Urbani has opened a test kitchen and tasting room in Manhattan, called Truffle Lab NYC.  Here you can enjoy truffle dinners or partake in cooking classes taught by world-renowned chefs.  Or just stop in for the freshest Italian truffles flown in daily from Umbria.  [10 West End Ave, NY NY 10023   www.urbani.com]
The Italian Summer Truffle is more readily available and in season from March through November. It is found in throughout most parts of Tuscany and the region of Le Marche.   Papavero Villa Rentals has many properties in the picturesque area called Le Crete  – the heart of the Siena province countryside. We arrange a wonderful day hunting the white truffle of Le Crete Senesi,  the Marzulo and third known simply as the black summer truffle.  Each has its own season allowing a truffle hunt throughout the tourist season.   You will join a local villager and his trained dog through the woods in search of this delicacy followed with lunch in a trattoria or even his own home accompanied by the famous Brunello di Montalcino or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  Before the hunt,  if time allows, you will tour the small truffle museum in San Giovanni, a quaint medieval village set among the forests that provide the white truffles. Every person in the area hunts for truffles for their own table, but since they last at most four days, they sell the overflow to agents hired by prestigious restaurants around the world.   They say that if you put an Alba white truffle next to theirs, you cannot tell the difference.

 

If you prefer to hunt for fresh truffles in comfort, here are some of Italy’s 2017 Truffle Festivals

PIEDMONT

ALBA  –  Alba’s white truffle fair and market is one of the best and worth a special trip.  The event runs from this year from October 7 to 26th November with gastronomic stands and ends with the truffle world auction and the white truffle walk for tourists.  During the fair, there are concerts and lots of entertainment as well.  The week before leads up to this event with the famous donkey Palio and the chef contest; the finalist will then enter the world’s most prestigious cooking contest the Bocouse d’ Or in France next January.   http://www.fieradeltartufo.org/

MONCALVO –  this year will be held from the 22nd through the 29th Ocboter.  Located among the picturesque area of Monferrato with stoic castles, panoramic landscapes, and quaint villages. Moncalvo will be celebrating with truffle tastings and dinners leading up to the auction on the last day.

 

TUSCANY

San Giovanni d’Asso  – second and third weekends in November

Volterra –  Last weekend in October and the first weekend in November

San Miniato ( Florence Province) Last weekend in October and the first weekend in November

Corazzano, San Miniato  ( Florence Province) the first  Sunday in October

Balconevisi, San Miniato ( Florence Province) the third Sunday in October

Montespertoli ( Siena Province) Third weekend in November

Borgo San Lorenzo, Mugello ( Florence Province) third weekend in November

Montaione ( Siena Province) Last weekend in October

Arezzo ( Arezzo Provoince) first weekend in October

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playing-golf

Playing Golf Has Never Been Better

With more golf courses in America than there are McDonald’s (15,000 vs. 14,000), there is a reason why so many golf courses exist in America. Whether you play golf or not, most people at one point in time wanted to try it; and people who play wish they played more.  There are many reasons to […]

With more golf courses in America than there are McDonald’s (15,000 vs. 14,000), there is a reason why so many golf courses exist in America. Whether you play golf or not, most people at one point in time wanted to try it; and people who play wish they played more.  There are many reasons to value golf but here are some highlights for those who always wanted to learn or needed a reminder.

Exercise – The average golfer burns 1,442 calories playing golf while walking. If they take a golf cart, they burn 822 calories.  A Swedish Study concluded that golfers lived five years longer than non-golfers (although nearly all golfers in Sweden walk.) Everyone wants to be healthier, so what better way to get exercise than while playing the game of golf. Sure, beats running on a treadmill in my opinion.

Outdoor Benefits – Being outside has been shown to lower blood pressure (although missing an 18-inch putt may reverse that), improve your ability to focus, help fight anxiety, eliminate fatigue, reduce inflammation, improve short-term memory and demonstrate a de-stressing effect.

Fundraising – Do you know an organization that needs an extra $2,000 or $100,000 this year? Golf courses can help. In 2016 golf raised $3.9 BILLION and since 2012 it has raised over $20 Billion in money for charities. In 2016 each charity event nationwide averaged $26,400 for the cause. No matter what size organization you are, golf courses can help you raise money for a great cause, or by simply playing in one of their events, you can help a charity succeed in their mission.

Business – Want a senior management position? You should strongly consider playing golf because executives who play golf make 17% more than those who don’t. 54% of business professionals see golf as the perfect networking tool. An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf and 50% of golfers agreed to the statement, “the way a person plays golf is very similar to how he or she conducts business affairs.”

Why is golf good for business? Because golf:

  1. Provides access to an environment where business deals are done
  2. Challenges people to go beyond their comfort zone for personal enrichment
  3. Instills confidence both on and off the course
  4. Gives insight on how to read others
  5. Offers you a sneak peek into the integrity and ethics of your golf partners
  6. And most important…lets you open up and have fun!

Fun – What do you do for fun with friends, colleagues, and family? Some people play golf for the business reasons listed above, and some play with a group of friends they may not see if it wasn’t for that annual event. Some play with their brothers, sisters, parents, children, and relatives. Golf provides an opportunity to bond and create memories that last a lifetime.

There are also many other reasons people play golf. Some like competitive events and some just like to relax and have a few drinks. The best part is you don’t have to be good at the sport to have fun and enjoy all the benefits.

Sources:

http://www.appraisers.org/docs/default-source/discipline_rp/golf-courses-an-ever-changing-challenge.pdf?sfvrsn=0

https://www.pga.com/play-golf-america/new-golfer/golf-good-business

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-spending-more-time-outside-is-healthy-2017-7#walking-in-nature-could-improve-your-short-term-memory-1

http://wearegolf.org/charity/contributions/

https://onpar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/a-little-scientific-research-for-all-those-19th-hole-debates/

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